grassi Posted December 4, 2010 Share Posted December 4, 2010 I'm reading pretty much everywhere about the common practice to add household bleach for cleaning filter socks. I never used it for many reason, some due to the facts, some to some suspects. Some facts: -Even in small amount, the Sodium hypochloride contained in the household bleach will be released in your water column. -Sodium hypochloride (NaOCl) reacts with metals, it can release chlorine gas and many other fun stuff that you don't want to happen in your tank. -It also causes the precipitation of minerals such as calcium carbonate which is present in good amount in our tanks mostly producing trihalomethanes which are carcinogenic -When mixed with some sort of ammonia (that we have in our tanks) it produces chloramines which are toxic. -NaOCl will damage the fibers and the lifespan of the sock will be shortened. We all know that this is true for natural fibers, but it is also proven that some polymer can be damaged by acid and bleach -There are some more effects of bleach on a water solution, you can find a lot of readings online. Again, it will be present in a low level on a dry filter sock, but it will be present. The suspect: When beaching a filter sock you are just getting rid of stains, but you are not really cleaning the sock better, that being done with the mechanical action of cleaning (extra rinse in your washing machine). So if you are just getting rid of stains for the pleasure of your eyes while introducing potential hazard for your tank, why you should use it? I had to prove my suspect so I decided to perform a couple of tests. I cut a used filter sock (felt) in 2 parts and washed one with and another one without bleach. Then I prepared a section and mounted it on a few slides. At first sight under the microscope looks like the bleached one is much more clean than the other one. But after I stained the sample I was able to see pretty much the same amount of particles (mostly algae) in the two samples. The bleach just "bleached" the algae (what a genius!!!) but it DID NOT REMOVE THEM FROM THE SOCK. The purpose of cleaning a filter sock is to get rid, as much as we can, of the particles that are clogging it. The test I performed showed me that bleach is not helping that way. I thought that bleach was able to somehow "destroy" the particles present in the sock, helping the mechanical cleaning, but it is not, probably due to the nature of the fiber used for filter socks. As a side note, most of the socks we are using in the hobby are generally used in industrial environment. They are sold in two different families, as for the cleaning. Some can be used only once, while there is a kind that can be "regenerated" and reused. This cleaning process is usually done by industrial cleaning processes, using pressure and other way for cleaning and regenerating them. Who knows which kind we are getting... the only think I'm sure of is that we cannot bring them back to the "new" status with or without bleach, but we can get rid of some particles in a way that they can be reused in our sump, at least for a while. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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